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Arizona: Execution witnesses have First Amendment right to hear entire process, 9th Circuit rules

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A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that witnesses to Arizona executions have a First Amendment right to hear the entire execution process to help determine if executions are done “in a humane and lawful manner.”
The ruling comes 5 years after the last execution in Arizona ended up with the condemned inmate, Joseph Wood, gasping for almost two hours and in apparent agony behind soundproof glass.
A 3-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with the claim, by seven death-row inmates and the First Amendment Coalition of Arizona, that the ability to hear what’s happening in the execution room will foster a heightened level of transparency around the death penalty.

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“People might say, ‘That sounds so gory, why do you want to hear what’s happening in there?'” said Morgan Loew, an investigative reporter with CBS 5 in Arizona and the president of the First Amendment Coalition. “What we’re doing is fighting for more access to probably the most …

Iranian Juvenile Offender Milad Azimi Saved from Execution

Milad Azimi
Iran Human Rights (December 7, 2018): Milad Azimi, a juvenile offender who allegedly committed a murder at the age of 17, was forgiven by the plaintiffs on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

Milad's death sentence was upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court a few months ago. 

The plaintiff had set a diyeh (blood-money) of 500 million Toman (approximately 50.000 USD) with the deadline of December 4. 

Milad's family were not able to pay that amount of money. However, the local human rights defenders and civil society activists could motivate righteous people to help to collect money.

Milad’s story


Milad Azimi is a juvenile offender who allegedly committed a murder at the age of 17. His death sentence was upheld by the Iranian Supreme Court a few months ago. The plaintiff has set a diyeh (blood-money) of 500 millions Toman (approximately 50.000 USD) with the deadline of December 4. Milad's family are not able to pay that amount of money. Therefore, if he fails to win the plaintiff’s consent, his execution will be carried out quite soon. Local civil society activists have been trying to collect money to save Milad's life.

Iran Human Rights (IHR) urges the Iranian authorities to stop juvenile executions and calls on the international community to act in order to save Milad's life. 

According to the IHR sources, a student was killed during a gang fight on December 8, 2013, at a high school in the Iranian city of Kermanshah. Milad was one of the students participating in the fight and was arrested by police on murder charges. He was born on December 21, 1995, and was 17 at the time of the offense.

Milad's case was sent to the forensic medicine which confirmed Milad's maturity. A close relative of Milad told IHR, “We were there (forensic medicine) at the time of the scheduled examination. Everything went so quickly. They just visited him for a short time and concluded that he is mature enough to take responsibility for his action.”

According to Article 91 of Iran's revised Islamic Penal Code, it is up to the presiding judge's discretion to deem the juvenile mature enough to understand the nature of the offense:  "In the cases of offenses punishable by hadd or qisas, if mature people under eighteen years do not realize the nature of the crime committed or its prohibition, or if there is uncertainty about their full mental development, according to their age, they shall be sentenced to the punishments prescribed in this chapter." Otherwise, the Islamic Penal Code puts the age of criminal responsibility at 15 for males and 9 for females.

Milad’s case proves once more that Article 91 has not resulted in stop nor even decrease of juvenile executions in Iran. From the application of article 91 in 2013 to the end of November 2018, at least 41 juvenile offenders have been hanged in Iranian prisons. So far in 2018, at least 6 juvenile offenders have been executed in Iran.

Despite ratifying the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Iran is the world's top executioner of juvenile offenders.

Source: Iran Human Rights, December 7, 2018


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"One is absolutely sickened, not by the crimes that the wicked have committed,
but by the punishments that the good have inflicted." -- Oscar Wilde

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